Does fatty liver show up on PET scan?

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Does fatty liver show up on PET scan?

 Find Out: Does a Fatty Liver Show Up on PET Scan? 

Dr. Souvik Sarkar, Assistant Professor of Gastroenterology & Hepatology at the University of California, says, “ Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is one of the fastest-growing causes of liver cancer around the world. It is also driving an increase in the need for liver transplantation.” 


Fatty liver disease, or the condition in which fats start to accumulate in your liver when it fails to break down the calories, can be a threat to your internal body functioning! It can end up causing Inflammation, advanced scarring, and even liver failure!

Fatty liver disease can be of two types – Alcoholic & Non-alcoholic! While the former is the one caused by excess consumption of alcohol, the latter is the one that may arise due to a wide range of factors like obesity, diabetes, high triglycerides, and so forth!


Medical experts often state that a PET scan or Positron Emission Tomography Scan is the one-stop-shop tool that can accurately diagnose fatty liver disease and help doctors quantify its corollary liver Inflammation. No wonder it has become the most significant functional diagnostic tool for tracing a wide variety of health conditions, from the lapse in your cognitive functions to how well your metabolism works!


The answer to your question would, of course, be yes!

When would your doctor order a PET Scan to diagnose fatty liver disease?

Your doctor may order a PET scan to trace a fatty liver disease based on your symptoms and devise a suitable treatment; thereafter!

  • Suffer from severe abdominal pain near the upper right side of your belly?
  • Do you have extreme tiredness or fatigue for a long span?
  • Feeling like vomiting all the time?
  • Did you lose your appetite drastically?
  • Did you come across a sudden & abnormal weight loss in the last few days?
  • Skin & eyes turn yellowish just like someone has during jaundice.
  • Do your legs and abdomen appear swollen?
  • Are you suffering from mental confusion & lack of concentration on work or daily chores?
  • Did your palms turn red?
  • Do you have itchy skin?
  • Does your urine seem dark?
  • Can you witness an enlarged blood vessel right beneath your skin surface?

If yes, you have to stay alert from now on! They are all signs of fatty liver disease, as the doctor predicts. In fact, you may even have other red flags of your fatty liver as they are typically non-specific and can show similar symptoms to that of a kidney or stomach problem!


Your doctor is likely to ask you a few more questions about yourself, your medical history, and your family history before they come to a prediction!

  • Were you obese or had a high amount of belly fat?
  • Do you have or have high blood pressure, cholesterol, or diabetes?
  • Did you reach menopause?
  • Any belongings of Asian or Hispanic descent?
  • Taking medications like steroids, tamoxifen, amiodarone, or diltiazem?
  • Having obstructive sleep apnea?
  • Did you have hepatitis C ever in your life?
  • Do you have or have polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS?

Have a family history of liver disease?

  • Were you ever exposed to toxins in your workplace?
  • Do you have genetic conditions like Wilson disease or hyperbetalipoproteinaemia?
  • Smoking or drinking alcohol excessively?
  • Do you eat excess red meat & seafood?
  • Were you pregnant before?

Depending on these questions & answers, your doctor shall ask you to take tests! Sometimes, they may recommend a blood test, and sometimes an Ultrasound, CT, MRI, or PET scan!

On this note,

You must remember that fatty liver disease show progression in four stages – Simple Fatty Liver, Steatohepatitis, Fibrosis, and Cirrhosis! They are the build-up of fat in your liver, Inflammation of your liver, persistent Inflammation & scarring, and widespread scarring that leads to liver failure, respectively. 

Your doctor is more likely to order a PET scan when it is the initial 2 stage, and your doctor wants to assess how your liver exactly functions right then. But PET scan is also significant during the detection of liver cancers caused by liver cirrhosis!

How does a PET scan for fatty liver disease work?

PET scan is a non-invasive procedure, so you do not need to worry about wear & tear in your body. This process stands established in medical imaging for a long and takes barely 15 to 30 minutes on average. Just like a CT or MRI scan, it involves a scanner machine that shall trace the requisites when you lay down still in a position on a table! Moreover, your doctor may also order a PET scan alongside MRI or CT scan.

While a PET scan is not that expensive, when it comes with an MRI test, it may certainly charge some more!


  • The team of radiologists shall seek to assess the rate of glucose transport from your blood to liver tissues and locate the grade of Inflammation; by this, I mean the stage or extent of progression!
  • The clinicians shall want to detect how your liver uses fats for energy, thereby helping analyze the physical & chemical processes that are responsible for the fatty liver. In simple words, the pet scan can show the precise cause of your fatty liver.
  • The radiology technician shall aim to fetch a better anatomical resolution & accurate time capture when diagnosing your fatty liver.

Such clarity in your liver functioning is possible to attain only because of the radiopharmaceutical glucose; that gets injected into your veins. But, Alas! This radioactive dye can cause complications; if exceeded in dosage and may turn risky.


It stands essential for you to avail of a PET scan only from the NABL- accredited radiology labs in our country!

How to Keep Your Liver Healthy!

Your liver is responsible for a lot of important bodily functions, so it’s important to keep it healthy. Here are some tips to help you do just that:

1. Avoid drinking too much alcohol. Too much alcohol can damage your liver and make it difficult for it to function properly.

2. Eat a healthy diet. A balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables can help keep your liver healthy.

3. Get enough exercise. Exercise helps improve overall health and can also help keep your liver functioning properly.

4. Avoid eating unhealthy foods high in fat and sugar. These foods can damage your liver over time.

5. Drink plenty of water each day. Dehydration can put stress on your liver and lead to health problems down the road.

Ending Remarks: 

Did your doctor suggest you some other scans & Do you want to learn about them? You can write to us at! We shall come back with your answers right here, right away!

Till then,

Stay safe, & adopt some lifestyle modifications to eliminate conditions like fatty liver disease! 


You may also contact us for  more information:

Email: [email protected]

Call: 8699572364

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Hi, I am Alka Tiwari, Founder & Patient Care Executive at Helping you get the diagnostics scans services like MRI, CT Scan, UltraSound & PET Scan, etc at the best price. At MRIChandigarh's blog, I will be writing to create awareness and to educate you about how and where to get diagnostic scans done in Chandigarh at the best price with best-in-class services.
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